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Council tenants offered free DIY courses at B&Q

Published: 7 March 2012
DIY retail giant B&Q has teamed up with social housing provider Home Group in a pilot scheme aimed at improving the DIY skills of its tenants through voucher, free course and rent holiday incentives.
Council tenants offered free DIY courses at B&Q
More than 140 customers in Braintree, Essex, Egremont in Cumbria and Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, have signed up to the voluntary scheme. Those tenants in Cumbria and Middlesbrough have been given £400 gift cards for B&Q to use over 12 months, while Essex customers enjoyed two weeks rent holiday in the run up to Christmas, and will get another two week period in June.

Tenants across all three pilot scheme areas have been offered the free training at B&Q's You Can Do It training centres. These involve lessons in tackling simple repairs such as fixing leaking taps, re-grouting tiles, replacing locks and re-fixing fence posts.

The Home Group said the uptake of the scheme, which started in November and is expected to run for 12 months, has been positive so far. The scheme has been praised by government Housing Minister Grant Shapps, who said it could "serve as an apprenticeship in the home and the start on a path to a whole new career" for the tenants.

The Home Group's executive director of customer service Rosemary Du Rose said: "The people taking part say the customer reward scheme gives them a sense of ownership for the upkeep and maintenance of their homes. There is a real appetite among our customers to take part in our customer rewards scheme."

B&Q's business services manager Arun Glendinning said: "B&Q is supporting Home Group's customer rewards scheme, which enables people to learn essential practical skills and empowers them to carry out improvements to their home environment such as laying new flooring, painting and decorating, tiling and improving the garden.

"We've identified that many people now lack the practical skills their parents may have once had, which is why we now have 15 You Can Do It centres in our stores around the country delivering hands-on home improvement classes run by qualified staff."

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